Mighty Ape, the Kiwi online retailer, has moved up from its 10th place standing last year to claim the top position in this year’s Kantar Customer Leadership Index.
Skinny and Toyota came in second and third, with AA Insurance and Mitsubishi rounding out the top five.
To create the index, Kantar asked 2,500 New Zealanders for their opinions of over 60 of New Zealand’s top brands in banking and insurance, online shopping, retail and grocery, media and entertainment, travel, telecommunications, energy and car repair.
Questions cover all aspects of the customer experience including service delivery, customer centricity, brand clarity and offer excellence.
Mighty Ape’s success was put down to its purchase and delivery experience, making it easy to choose and buy via its digital platform, and the superior delivery experience provided since the launch of in-house courier service ‘Jungle Express’.
Brands in the top 10 are usually strong in multiple ways and in Mighty Ape’s case, its strength in channel is also linked to being responsiveness and customer-focused, and allows its brand to stand out versus other online retailers.
Gracie MacKinlay, Mighty Ape’s CEO, says they are thrilled to have taken out the top spot.
“This result is all down to our unwavering commitment to delivering excellent customer experience — including key initiatives such as our same-day delivery service, Jungle Express, that has a 99.7 percent success rate, launching Mighty Mobile, New Zealand’s first prepay plans with truly unlimited data, as well as expanding our product range to give Kiwis more bang for their buck.
“We’re passionate about ‘putting customers first’ and this Kantar award is recognition of that. We’re incredibly thankful to our customers for their invaluable feedback – this recognition is a testament to our team’s hard work and we’re determined to keep raising the bar.”
Kantar New Zealand’s Chief Commercial Officer, David Thomas, says that Mighty Ape is an inspiring example of a local brand with an absolute focus on delivering excellent customer experiences.
“I find the story about Jungle Express both inspiring, and emblematic, of their success. Jungle Express came about in late 2021 during the Delta outbreak and subsequent lockdown in Auckland, when Mighty Ape decided to invest in a delivery service that mitigated the growing risk of their usual courier partners being unable to collect and deliver orders to customers. In other words, Mighty Ape anticipated a client problem and worked proactively to not only mitigate it but turn it into a competitive advantage that helps them deliver meaningfully different experiences to their customers.”
The 2023 Customer Leadership Index demonstrates that the cost of living crisis is still impacting how customers see brands, and putting customer retention at risk. This means that price, and the cost-benefit equation, remains highly important – 6 of the top 10 brands on the Kantar value measure also appear in the top 10 in the index overall.
“If customers don’t feel they are getting value from a brand, in times like these there’s an increasing risk that some of them will decide that a change is worth the effort. But if they feel happy about the value delivered by their choice, this risk diminishes substantially. In this environment brands have to continue to demonstrate and communicate value to customers – which may be about low price, but also may be the overall value proposition,” says Thomas.
In an environment in which technology and automation is often front and centre, the Index also shows the benefit of human interactions as part of customer experiences.
Thomas says: “It’s clear looking at our data that brands that bring elements of humanity to their CX really do benefit – that is, empathy, respect, listening, and communicating clearly.”
“And further, it’s noticeable that some brands in sectors that don’t naturally have people as part of their core offer, such as Mighty Ape in online retail, still stand out on aspects of humanity because they’ve worked out how to build those universal human values into their offer.”
The top 10 ranked brands
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